tv Inside Washington PBS June 30, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the supreme court's decision to uphold it. >> this week on "inside washington" -- the supreme court upholds president obama's health care law. >> opposite supreme court did not do on its last day in session i will do on my first day if elected president of the that states, and that is, i will act to repeal obamacare. >> the court hands down a split decision on immigration. >> it is a victory for the rule of law, a victory for the people of arizona, and for america, and for the 10th amendment. >> and where does mitt romney stand on that one? >> we are left with a bit of a model. >> and the house votes to hold attorney general holder in civil and criminal contempt. that is a first. and in northern ireland, the handshake that made history.
>> 26 states challenged it, republicans hate it, mitt romney says he will get rid of it. the patient protection and a portable care act is president obama signature legislative achievement, but is it constitutional? according to chief justice roberts, who wrote the majority opinion upholding the law, yes and no. so much to talk about, so little time. that begin with you, nina. did anybody expect it to go this way? >> and not any person predicted all of the twists and turns, the intellectual and jujitsu, of this decision, what would be upheld by 5-4, what would be struck down by a 7-2 vote. this is one of those wonderful days or the supreme court applied everybody's predictions, and it is why i love cover these
institutions. >> charles, your take? >> on the day of the oral arguments, it seemed to me roberts was torn in two directions. on the one hand, he clearly could not abide the defense of the act by the administration on the grounds of the commerce clause. he thought that was outrageous. on the other hand, he is the chief justice. he has the sense as the custodian, the reputation starts with the court. he remembers the best decision, bush be court, and how much stress that caused when these things are seen as being partisan. i thought he would have to choose. what he did, which i thought was a great intellectual concoction, or finesse, what ever you want, he managed to do both. he said the commerce clause does not apply, it would be unconstitutional under the commerce clause, and he concocted this idea that the mandate is a tax as a way to
uphold the law, and that it does not invite the objection of this partisan court acting on ideological grounds. >> i do not know what the chief justice said about roe v wade, whether he took that into account. i do not even know if the chief justice concocted the argument about that tax. if you look at what was filed on behalf of the government, there were two approaches to upholding the individual mandate. one was the commerce clause, the other was through the tax code. it was stated, this is the position advanced by the government, and the chief justice acknowledged it. yes, that is the correct position to take for this action we are taking. i do not see the big mystery there. >> mark? >> my take is two fold. first of all, for those of my friends who respect and rear the constitution of the united states, we have three branches,
the legislative, congress, the executive, president, and the judiciary, supreme court. all three have now acted. the affordable care act has been passed by congress, signed by the president, upheld by the supreme court. let's move on. no. 1. no. 2, this is an important issue. this was a central issue in the campaign of 2008. both sides vow to do something about it. this came out of an urgent need in the people. the leading cause of bankruptcy in america was a serious illness, unable to pay for, people falling out of the middle-class, losing their homes because of illness, because of lack of coverage. this addresses that and i hope the administration will finally grabbed this moment to sell their case. the president started doing it on thursday in a statement, to talk about what is in it. nobody knows, unfortunately,
other than pre-existing condition and your children can stay on until 26, what is in the bill. >> the justice said it is not our job to protect people from the consequences of their political decisions. what did he mean? >> the congress did this, the president did this, you may not like it. the suggestion is, i may not like it, but that is not my job. my job is to say whether it is constitutional. the president has a chance to figure out again how to sell this. he should say to people, for instance, this is a no free rider fee, so that other people do not have to -- you do not have to pay for other people's care. so far, the administration has failed to do that. it costs the barkley argument because it has yet to figure out its own broccoli argument. >> when you analyze the justices -- chief justice robert reasoning, it is pretty conservative, isn't it? that is why he did it this way.
he assigned himself the role of writing the decision. he decides to uphold the law but he does not want it to be on the grounds of the commerce clause because as he and the conservative justices say, correctly, if you allow it under that clause, there are no restraints on what congress can ever do. so he writes it in a way that is extremely narrow but calls the mandate a tax, which is a concoction, because when you get a speeding ticket, it is not called a speeding tax. it is called a speeding ticket. >> it is not paid to the irs. >> the difference between a tax and penalty, a tax is to raise revenue, a penalty is to punish you into a paper. -- change behavior. the purpose of the mandate is to compel people to go out and buy insurance. >> what is the purpose of the tax on cigarettes? not to raise revenue, but to discourage people from smoking. >> that is right, but the
principal purpose of any tax is to collect money for the treasury. the principal purpose of a penalty is to deter behavior. >> the tax on cigarettes -- >> even the administration has said repeatedly it is not a tax, is a penalty. >> he said it was not a tax increase. we can fight over whether or not that is semantics. chief justice roberts opinion was for himself only. the four conservatives who would have struck down the bill in its entirety had a much more wide- ranging view of what you could not do under the commerce clause, than he did. he wrote for himself only on that, the of for your liberals would have upheld it under the commerce clause, and then the five in the majority agreed, this looks like a tax, walks like a tax ,quacks like a tax,
is collected by the irs, and we will view it as a tax. initially, the administration did but did not want to take the political heat. >> easily the most gratuitous advice of the week to indicate the surprise of this decision. my good friend john boehner, speaker of the house, instructed his colleagues, do not gloat at the time of the decision. to their credit, they did not. >> that is because if we took the football away from them before they could kick it. >> it makes no difference who collects a tax or penalty. it is still a tax or penalty. secondly, robert made a point in his opinion of say why you cannot apply the commerce clause, and if you did, it would be unconstitutional. that is a conservative position, and changed. >> the high court has had a busy week, so let's do more on today's ruling.
>> underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety. >> house republicans are not taking this decision lying down, obviously. their leaders have already scheduled a repeal vote for the week of july 9. mark, does this debate start all over again? will they somehow come to terms on this issue? >> they are doing rather miraculously on the student loan bill and the highway bill, which shows progress. this is an interesting issue politically because the belief has been at the losing side in this gets the energy. i think that is true in most legal cases, certainly, the political energy than one can see from roe v wade some 30 years later. on this one, i think it is a bit of a problem for john boehner because his base is not only
energized, they are outraged. they are furious at this decision. john boehner does not want this election to be about health care. he wanted to be about the economy, and that is where he wants them to be. if anything, the president has the chance to be on the advantage with health care at this point. quite honestly, that is where mitt romney does not won this campaign to go. >> does this work for mitt romney? now he can say, i told you. >> if he had his way and this bill was repealed, 3.1 million young adults would be shoved off their parent plants. if mitt romney gets his way, 5 million medicare beneficiaries who save more than $5.2 billion and prescription drugs could lose that. you could go down the list. this is what the administration has got to talk about. >> from president obama's perspective, mitt romney got his way in massachusetts. i would think he would point that out.
>> in some ways, he is the worst person to be making this argument. here is a man that insisted on the mandate in his state, has a program in massachusetts that is wildly popular now that it has gone into effect, was not so initially. the cost of it actually went up and then it flattened. it has been incredibly successful, more than a 70% approval rating, and this program, what they call obamacare, is modeled on romney care in massachusetts. in some ways, he is the worst person to be making this argument. >> obama gets the initial boost because ihis prestige is enhanced. if he had lost, it would have looked like he spent a year-and- a-half on something he did not understand. he is supposed to be a professor of constitutional law. yes, he gets a boost.
the individual mandate, which she has a hard time arguing, because he supported it, is no longer an issue. now is a policy issue. will this be a good idea, a solid system? there are a lot of arguments that mitt romney can make. right now there is an about a 11-point spread about people who do not want obamacare in those that exploit it. in the state of the union, the president gave exactly one line to obamacare. why? his signature achievement, spending a year and half on it? he knew it was a losing issue. >> immigration. split decision, nina. >> roberts and kennedy struck down most of the arizona law, upheld the so-called show me your papers provision, but with so many caveat, it is a very circumscribed way to enforce. if you had to read it, i would
say it was 80% loss for the state, the matter how many times we say it was a victory. just by the sound and fury of justice scalia's descent, you can tell who won and who lost. >> the combination of the decision on immigration and president obama's action that he took with executive orders, it pulls a rug out of someone like marco rubio who has withdrawn his own version of the dream act now. as he said, obama took a error out of my sale. >> where do you go if you are mitt romney on this? >> you are really uncomfortable. it has not been a great week for romney. you can see it again on immigration, when the decision came out. there is some impetus, i think, from people who may be thought
this was unconstitutional, who will look at this decision in health care and say, okay, if it is constitutional, maybe i ought to look it more seriously. >> on immigration, mitt romney has to be happy that health care came up to take the spotlight. can i tell you about one anecdote about health care which happened on thursday? it was a magic moment, i thought. nancy pelosi, the speaker, who was more possible for passing health care than anyone else, pay for it by losing his speakership in the process. she got the news, was on her way to the democratic caucus, and approaches george miller of california. she says, what great news. he says, you bet your ass. she said, i did. >> can i take 30 seconds to correct all of the errors about the immigration case? no. 1?
, it was 5-3 in three provisions. the central division of the law, show me your papers, which caused all the argument, it was unanimous against the administration. they were humiliated on this deal. the argument essentially says the administration is not able to distinguish between of law and its policies. the point is, the administration is saying, we do not want to enforce immigration. if you do, it is an impingement on our prerogative of doing immigration. >> this is an objective analysis. >> show me where i am wrong. >> as nina said, that position it was so nuanced, they clearly expected this. >> the chair recognizes your descent, but we have to move on. >> it was a unanimous decision,
that part of the law. >> when they talked about this particular provision, they said it had not been tested, it is likely to be tested and challenged, through the way it is enforced, and we do not know what will ultimately happen to this provision. it may come back to us. we know that it will be challenged in the way that the arizona of tories will use it. -- authorities will use it. >> what justice kennedy said for the whole court, he said this law has been represented to us as a right to communicate. the state government communicating with the federal government, saying, is this individual legally in the country? that is a complete right. it would be wrong to say you cannot do that. however, you cannot hold people for an unreasonable period of time. if you're targeting them based on their ethnicity, you'll be in trouble. he put up a big red warning
flag. >> what about the politics of this? >> very simply, the politics are killing mitt romney. a recent poll reported on thursday, analyzing those numbers, that overwhelmingly, the country, by a margin of better than three-one, endorsed what the president has done on immigration. undocumented immigrants who are here, who were brought here against their will, with other knowledge, grown up, have gone to high school, military -- they see the fairness and decency of this. mitt romney has not been simply wobbly on this, he has been absolutely vague and contradictory and week. so he had to get off of it. in that sense, the medicare -- 20% of the country are strongly opposed to what the president did. we know the true they are.
that is not an expanding group. switching the subject works for his advantage. >> so what does he do? >> mark is right about the politics. what obama did, in unilaterally enacting a dream act, which congress rejected, was extremely politically astute. as an aside, it is completely lot less. he himself had said place last year in public that doing its, exactly what he did, would be unconstitutional, because his job is to execute the laws, congress enacted them, but it had not been enacted. nonetheless, the politics was really smart. rubio was working on something like this which would have had support from both parties. it is now a dead letter. romney has nowhere to go on this. at least the health care ruling came down midweek and drown the
entire immigration discussion. >> both houses -- majorities in the house passed a dream back. it was stopped by a mean spirited group of republicans in the senate. >> a law that does not pass the senate is not a lot. -- a law. >> we do strive for accuracy as well. you cannot say congress rejected it. you cannot say that. the dream act was filibustered by a couple of republicans in the united states senate. the house passed it several times. the senate was prepared to pass it, but the republicans filibustered. >> can i make a quick point? this week between immigration and the health-care laws, the president may have got a hismojo back with his base. they are suddenly excited, or
more excited than they were. but he does, by and large, have been under-voting. this may help them vote in large numbers. >> a sitting attorney general had never been held in contempt of congress until now. >> today's vote is the regrettable combination of what became a misguided and politically motivated investigations during an election year. >> the house made history this week by voting to hold attorney general holder in civil and criminal contempt of congress for refusing to turn over the documents dealing with the screwed up fast and furious atf's gun tracking project. certain members of the house walked out as they were taking the vote. what is the point of this? >> i would like to make two points. the point of this is politics. you have an issue, the nra is scoring it. his contempt citation came six
or seven days after the committee vote. when the committee voted to cite harriet myers " from the bush administration, it took six months. i do not think the administration, in the same way that dick cheney did not, has made a really good public case for what they do not turn it over. >> because there was no coverage of this issue for the year and half. on this show. we have to explain all the background. one week after a year-and-a- half. the reason they are asking for the papers is because, in february 2011, the administration issued a letter that was false. as nina said last weekend, yes, it corrected it. it was corrected in december. the papers are about a very until december 2011. the cover-up and hiding of what happened. that is what older is withholding. it is a clear stonewall in the
watergate tradition. >> watergate tradition? >> so says fox. everybody, when the sun comes up until the sun goes down. the power of fox. what they did was an abomination. this is the same house of representatives that was compared to see the full faith and credit of the u.s. go down the toilet last year. we have on our hands some radicals in the house of representatives. >> no fox in the chicken coop. charles, let's confront this. this is truly -- >> chickens are tasty. >> this is a fascinating political moment. the compressed time on moving on this. at the same time, i find very little reservoir of good feeling toward the justice department among the democrats. one of the reasons is, the
failure to go after wall street and to put some of those $9,000- handcuffs and in the bars of justice. >> handshake that made history. >> i recognize to you that we have suffered, we are different people, she has suffered a loss in her family. >> that is the northern island deputy minister mark mcinnis who shook hands with the queen this past week. what is this significant? he is a former ira commander. the ira killed her favorite cousin. >> an amazing moment. it is hoped everywhere. the as of this, there is hope in the middle east. let this be an inspiration. i'm going to say a word for the queen. she had never been on my dance card, but i have to admit, this is a woman that shows a sense of leadership and history, and a sense of magnanimity.
it was the ira that killed her favorite cousin. >> who was responsible essentially for her marriage to prince philip. >> and historic moment. i agree with mark. it tells us that it is still possible for people are part to come together. if it can happen there, why can it happened in other places? >> i will tell you why. this is the end of 500 years of catholic-protestant morris. that handshake was the end of those wars. the war of islam and the rest of the world, it is long is testing the borders. as sam huntington said, the borders of islam are still bloody because they feel it has been demoted, oppressed, and dominated. that will continue in our lifetime. >> i agree with everybody but i think the queen is a class act. maybe she should send one of perhaps over to the middle east. >> if you would have said to me